9 Oct 2004 chromatic   » (Master)

A Strange Mix of Writer and Programmer:

Though most people know me for my programming, I also consider myself a writer. My day job combines both fields very nicely, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for non-technical writing.

The other night, I had a conversation spanning several subjects, including the deaths of my grandparents, the fear that I hadn't heard their full life stories, and my desire to make the world a better place, in part by helping non-programmers learn just enough programming to solve smaller problems. I felt guilty explaining the latter idea, as it seems self-indulgent in some ways and trivial in others.

As often happens, several divergent ideas ganged up on me and presented a different solution. I do want to make the world a better place, but maybe programming isn't the right place at the moment. Instead, I'm looking for a wider audience.

I've spent the past week putting the foundations of Write Your Life in place. The idea is to encourage people who want to improve their writing to practice writing every day for a month by providing one topic per day.

It uses an autobiographical theme for two reasons. First, it's important to write what you know. Though it's still difficult to start writing a thousand words about your home, once you cross that barrier, it can be more difficult to stop. (I blew past the word limit and didn't even start on the upper story of my house.)

Second, I believe everyone has a story to tell. I really regret not learning more from my grandparents while I had the chance, though my friend did point out that they may have told me as much as they felt comfortable sharing. There's a wealth of wisdom and experience in the previous generations that we may lose unless we encourage people to write and speak.

I hope my project will convince a few people to publish their own lives. Please feel free to pass the link to your friends.

(I'll try to add an RSS or Atom feed for the assignments today.)

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